The Garage Shop Ministry

Specializing in VBS & Woodworking for People of Faith!

The Workbench

The heart of the shop...

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My bride bought me my first Lie-Nielsen plane and after months of frustration trying to clamp boards to the old bench I had, this sparked the desire to build a bench with vises.

This bench is essentially the Heavy-duty workbench from Shopnotes issue 65. I modified my bench in a number of ways. First, the top is 31¾ X 70”. My version is wider and shorter. Second, rather than a modern bench with a double row of dog holes, I prefer the “traditional” or European style with a tail-vise and tool cubby. Four layers of MDF glued and screwed together, banded with 8/4 Ash make a VERY heavy and solid work surface!

Lastly, don’t forget floor mats, I have one on both sides of my bench. It your shop floor is like mine, concrete, standing for long periods of time at the bench can be really fatiguing. Mats can be a great help.
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I purchased a Tail-vise screw and regular front vise from Lee Valley.  

The first thing I needed to do was figure out how a tail-vise worked. Since mine was only using a screw, rather than one with a support plate, I decided to simply put a couple grooves in the sides of the tail vise and have the vise supported by a couple runners (center picture). It works slick. You may be wondering about the small shoulder on the right of the vise. (picture on left) This is great for small pieces—it really has some serious clamping power!

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—Mark

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